Backed by rapid technological and innovation development, Cambodian tech and digital businesses achieved $470 million in revenue for 2019, according to the latest report from Asian Development Bank (ADB) released late last month.
Broken down by sectors, e-commerce accounted for 27.6 per cent, e-services 7.8 per cent, digital media 10.2 per cent, advertising technology 12.7 per cent, transportation 3.8 per cent and online travel 37.9 per cent, the Metro Manila-based multilateral lender said in its “Asia Economic Integration Report 2021: Making Digital Platforms Work For Asia and the Pacific”.
On May 28, ADB and the Ministry of Economy and Finance co-hosted a public webinar on “Digital Platforms and Cambodia’s Post-Covid-19 Economic Recovery”.
Speaking at the event, ADB Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department chief economic and director-general Yasuyuki Sawada said the increased computing power and the access to affordable smart devices have brought digital technology into people’s hands.
“The increased use of these digital platforms is expected to continue this year and in the years to come. Based on our recent study, if digital sectors expand by 20 per cent from the 2020 baseline to 2025, global output would rise by $4.3 trillion annually, Asia’s output by $1.7 trillion yearly,” he said.
Ministry undersecretary of state Huot Pum told the webinar that the government had been preparing a Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework – which would be launched early this month – to provide clearer policy direction for Cambodia to digitalise its economy and society and to be used as a key strategy for economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis.
“Under this policy framework, the digital data and platforms are vital in adopting and leveraging the advanced technologies. In this sense, key stakeholders that include the government and the private sector are required to work together to initiate and develop digital platforms that synergise and co-create digital products and services to serve the people,” he said.
Besides, he said, to further promote and accelerate the digital adoption among people through broader and enhanced assess to public services, the government will take the lead in establishing state digital platforms with enhanced digital contents and diversified applications.
As part of a rapid recovery strategy, a number of key digital platforms and infrastructure have already been introduced. Of note, the government’s groundbreaking Cambodia Data Exchange (CamDX) platform will be a fundamental platform for online business registrations.
Other important examples are the National Payment Gateway, the digital payment and central bank digital currency (CBDC) Bakong Project, as well as other initiatives in digital signature and identity authentication.
Pum added: “Cambodia is optimistic that the digitalisation and digital transformation that they will promote will build more resilient and inclusive economic development in the context of post-Covid-19 economic recovery.
“The success of this transformation will require the full support and collaboration from all stakeholders,” he said.
And early this month, the government launched the 15-year policy framework touted by Pum, for the Kingdom’s evolving digital socioeconomic environment to pave the way for a thriving digital economy, as a new engine of economic growth.
The Cambodia Digital Economy and Social Policy Framework 2021-2035 is expected to inject fresh momentum into the Kingdom’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector and calibrate the pace of its development to leapfrog into the digital era, as a promising new source of opportunities to boost productivity, efficiency and economic competitiveness.
As of May 2020, the number of active mobile phone subscriptions across the Kingdom’s six operators was 20,481,051, down by 0.08 per cent year-on-year, the latest data from TRC show. This figure was the equivalent of 124.09 per cent of the total population at the time.
At the same time, the number of landline and fixed-line subscriptions numbered just 52,480 as of the end of May last year, slipping 21.62 per cent from the end of May 2019.
The number of mobile internet subscriptions across Cambodia’s seven providers also recorded a 2.36 per cent drop to 14,863,435, whereas fixed broadband internet subscriptions across the Kingdom’s 37 providers logged a 33.07 per cent climb to 249,132.